It was with much sadness that I read about the demolition of the Barbee House, one of the oldest houses in Jefferson. It was ironic that this demolition was occurring as the town was preparing for the 70th annual Historical Pilgrimage during which Jefferson’s wonderful historic homes are show-cased. Jefferson is known far and wide for its collection of restored, historic homes. Jefferson has the most antebellum homes of any town in Texas (50 -1) and many of them are significant examples of Texas Greek Revival architecture. This demolition is such a tragedy, but it’s our own fault. We do not have a Historic Preservation Masterplan, even though one was drafted in 2008, nor do we have any community resources or processes that would have helped to avert this event. We are totally dependent upon the home owners to restore and maintain the town’s historical homes which has had varied results, most very good but some not so good. Owners of historically significant homes have an obligation to maintain the historical integrity of the home, after all, we are in reality caretakers of it for our period of time. When an owner does not have adequate resources to save, restore and maintain a historic structure, the result over time will be the loss of the structure. Jefferson’s greatest asset, besides it’s unique history, is the quantity and quality of its historic homes. The demolition of the Barbee House should be a wake-up call to our community. What are we going to do?
Singleton’s Virginia Cross
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